As the school year starts, parents’ schedules become far more intense, but that doesn’t mean healthy eating has to go out the window. Having balanced, nutritious meals is vital for kids so they can be energized and focused at school. For today’s post, we’ve enlisted the help of our friend, Kim, from Forever Green Mom who is also one of our Brand Ambassadors. Kim is sharing some healthy school lunch ideas for kids that are easy to prepare and ideal for hectic weekday mornings.
We believe that the greatest change agents in our society are those who see problems in the world, and innovate creative solutions as a remedy. For decades, we’ve known that plastic wreaks havoc on our planet and its wild life; however, we have still continued to mass produce plastic products and disposable plastic goods. In fact, it wasn’t until very recently that brands have begun innovating non-plastic solutions to every day items. Working ahead of her time, our friend, Kirsten Quigley, founder of LunchSkins has been a visionary leader of this movement. For the past 10 years, she has been working to reinvent how Americans carry their lunch by providing reusable and recyclable products. Today, we are privileged to chat with Kirsten on our blog about her incredible journey and about how LunchSkins is working to change the world, one lunch bag at a time.
Tell us a bit about LunchSkins.
It all started around our kitchen table in 2008. While raising my young family, I noticed how much waste we generated on a daily basis packing 20+ lunches a week and countless snacks on the go for classes, teams and camps. LunchSkins was born out of my need for a better, smarter and stylish alternative to disposable plastic baggies. There was nothing like it in the marketplace. From the beginning, I knew that whatever we created had to be easy, affordable and fun so people would make it part of their daily routine, and collectively have a much bigger positive impact on our environment. For the past ten years, we’ve been helping families and communities think and act greener by replacing 1 Billion plastic bags with LunchSkins reusable and recyclable products. Our hope is to raise a generation of kids who think that green is mainstream and to give them the tools to be change-makers in their communities.
What is LunchSkins’ mission?
Our mission is to replace everyday plastic with smart, sustainable solutions that are easy to use and accessible to everyone.
How is LunchSkins working to create a healthier, more sustainable planet?
We created LunchSkins to disrupt disposable plastic with a smarter, better, eco-friendly alternative. Our reusable sandwich bags were the first-to-market, dishwasher-safe bag made from pastry cloth and designed for food on-the-go day after day. Recently, we developed a new recyclable and sealable paper sandwich/snack bag that is 100% plastic free. As a team that values collaboration, we proudly partner with stores, like-minded brands and non profit organizations to raise awareness about plastic pollution and work together to protect our oceans.
Why is it important for consumers to adopt sustainable living practices?
At the very basic level, we need clean air, clean water and clean energy sources to ensure our survival. Today, we are more interconnected than ever on a global scale – what one region of the world does affects the health, politics, culture, and landscape of another region. Plastic pollution is one of those issues that is very visible, particularly if you’re living in part of the world that is used as a dumping ground. What concerns me is that, in the US, the issue can be out-of-sight, out-of-mind. We don’t see where our trash goes (much of it shipped offshore), therefore we consume liberally and generate mountains of waste. But it’s catching up with us… there has been an increase in beach closures on the West coast, increasing damage to wildlife and a massive decline in overall ocean health. But I’m an optimist. Young people today seem more aware of environmental issues and my hope is that they will drive greater awareness, compassion and action for a healthier planet.
What advice do you have for individuals who are looking to make a lifestyle change?
Where should they begin? It’s all about the little things we do every day. Big changes begin with very small individual choices and actions — choosing reusable products over disposable ones is a great first step. Don’t let it overwhelm you. Just start with one or two things: bring your own water bottle/insulated mug when you walk out the door, don’t accept the obligatory straw in your drink, bring a reusable bag or just carry your 5 small items out of the store in-hand, adjust your diet to eat less red meat and more veggies and sustainable seafood, plant something in your garden or a pot of herbs in your kitchen. Since plastic pollution is my issue, I’d encourage people to let go of the mindset that plastic bags, bottles, straws are benign and think of them as a cost to our health and the environment. Producing plastic, using plastic and disposing of plastic creates toxic emissions and clogs waterways and landfills. It’s actually pretty empowering to realize that we can do something each day that will make a difference in the scope of the massive plastic problem we’re facing worldwide. People today are demanding better sustainable choices and this will do more to drive change in schools, homes, and communities everywhere.
Where can customers purchase your products? Is there anything else they should know?
We just launched our new recyclable and sealable paper sandwich bags in Target grocery and Whole Foods this summer, and also sell LunchSkins in many other natural grocery stores. Our long-time partner, the Container Store, is currently selling both reusable and recyclable products nationally. If none of these options work, you can always find a large assortment of LunchSkins on our website, lunchskins.com.
How are you trying to live a plastic free life? Share with us in the comments below!
As summer schedules start to fill up fast, you want to use your time efficiently so you can savor each and every minute of the summer season. Whether you are focused on eating for the seasons or just looking for some summer meal prep tips, this is the ultimate seasonal meal prep guide for all of your summer shopping and meal prepping needs.
After running over 350 miles without stopping and completing 50 marathons in 50 days, it’s indisputable that Dean Karnazes is one of the world’s fittest men. Naturally, after learning about Dean’s incredible physical achievements, the average person begins to wonder how he did it, what his training must have been like and whether or not he’s from planet Krypton (because he has to be related to Superman to run like that!) As summer approaches and we begin our training to be the very best versions of ourselves, we thought it would be fun to have the world’s fittest man divulge his must-haves for fitness and training. Continue reading below, and who knows — perhaps by summertime, you too could be among the world’s most fit!
We’re inspired by companies like Biokleen, making waves in the cleaning products industry, not only by creating non-toxic cleaning products but working to spread awareness on sustaining our planet. Today on the blog, we interviewed Barry Firth, the Managing Director of Biokleen, to give you more insight on their story, their motivation and how we can all contribute to better loving our planet.
1. Tell us a bit about Biokleen.
In 1989, company founder Jim Rimer was working for a commercial cleaning products company and he was disturbed to see first-hand the effects conventional cleaning products were having on the health of the people who were using the products. Asthma, skin issues and even cancer diagnoses were common among the housekeepers, janitors and carpet cleaners that used these toxic products. He then asked his bosses if they could find safe alternatives. They refused. And so, Biokleen was born.
Jim committed himself to learning about plant and mineral technologies that could clean as well as toxic products without doing any harm to people. With a drum and an oar in his garage, Jim worked tirelessly to develop some of Biokleen’s first products.
1) Is it plant- and mineral-based?
2) Is it safe for families and the environment?
3) Does it work?
2. What is Biokleen’s mission?
At Biokleen, our guiding commitment is to people, pets and our planet by harnessing the power of nature to produce plant and mineral based cleaners that work. Or, as we like to say, “Clean for Good.” This promise drives everything we do, from our products to our manufacturing principals to our impact on the community and the world-at-large.
3. How is Biokleen working to create a healthier planet?
We are being the change we want to see in the world by offsetting all energy and water used in the manufacturing process via wind credits and water restoration projects. Additionally, many of the products we make are highly concentrated which goes hand in glove with our less is more philosophy. This results in lower emissions necessary for shipping and delivering a considerable value for our consumers.
On top of our work nationwide with community-based pet rescues and environmental advocacy groups, in 2017 we embarked on an aggressive reforestation campaign planting 12,000 trees, and we will likely double that in 2018. Overall, we have set a goal of planting 60,000 trees per year by 2020.
4. Why is it important for consumers to adopt sustainable living practices?
Many of our consumers are parents of kids young and old. They’re questioning and concerned about the world they will be leaving for the generations to come. And, as a brand that’s been committed to sustainable practices for nearly 30 years, we’re encouraged that more and more consumers are becoming aware of the impact of their own choices. By examining their values and voting with their dollars, consumers now know they can help effect positive change in the world.
5. What advice do you have for individuals who are looking to make a lifestyle change? Where should they begin?
We all know change can be hard, but it doesn’t have to be. Making small changes, like supporting and switching to brands who are already making a difference with sustainable practices is a great place to start. With your commitment to brands like Biokleen and Wild Planet Foods, you’re making a change in the way you clean and eat and making an impact on our planet!
How are you contributing to sustain and protect our planet? Leave a comment with your own tips and tricks below!
Happy 2018! We’re starting the New Year off the right way – with a fresh set of resolutions. We believe in making resolutions that will not only flourish your body, but also help you live your best life. If you find it a bit of a struggle to reflect and set realistic goals for the year ahead, you’re in luck! We’ve enlisted New York Giants Linebacker, Devon Kennard, to give insight on his resolutions and how to reach them!
Rise and Shine! Ever wake up to a grumbling stomach in need for a delicious and nutritious breakfast (guilty, like everyday!)? You’re in luck because we’ve invited Alicia Slusarek, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, to share with us her Sardine Shakshuka recipe to start your morning off on the right foot, trading your hunger for nutritious foods that will fuel your day! (Don’t worry, if you’re not a morning person, this Sardine Shakshuka recipe is also great for an evening meal!)
It’s clear that we require vitamin D for good health. But few people are getting what they need. We’ve enlisted the help of award-winning dietitian and author of Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sports + Adventure Matthew Kadey for a rundown on why we might be coming up short in the Vitamin D department and the strategies needed to overcome the shortfall.
In the past couple of decades, research has shown that vitamin D is an important player in our overall health status. It’s long been known that vitamin D is a crucial nutrient for building and maintain strong bones. The sunshine vitamin is vital to the proper absorption of calcium, which is why studies show that adequate intakes of calcium without also having enough vitamin D has little impact on bone health. But vitamin D is no single-hit wonder. The latest batch of studies postulates that vitamin D is also involved in boosting heart health, improving sleep patterns, helping improve brain functioning such as lessening the risk for depression, slashing the chances of developing diabetes and even enhancing muscle functioning in athletes. Why the overarching health perks? Vitamin D behaves more like a hormone than a vitamin and is essential for proper cell-to-cell communication and cell functioning. Yes, this is one nutrient that is the real deal.
But despite the finer points of vitamin D, most Americans are coming up short. The Institute of Medicine, a medical body that sets nutrient requirement guidelines, recommends a daily vitamin D intake of 600 international units (IU) for most age groups. A number of vitamin D researchers and other health experts, however, believe that this is too cautious and at least 1,000 IU is needed to reap all that vitamin D has to offer. Evidence suggests that about three-quarters of Americans likely have insufficient blood vitamin D levels. Results published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association found that nearly 1 billion people worldwide may have deficient or insufficient levels of vitamin D.
The human body can produce the active form of vitamin D in the skin courtesy of the sun’s rays, but during the winter months, few Americans are able to synthesize useful amounts. As we increasingly spend more of our day indoors and then slather on sunscreen when we do venture outside during warmer months, the ability to make vitamin D decreases further. Those with darker skin pigmentation such as African Americans will have a harder time making vitamin D from the yellow orb above. Lactose intolerance and being overweight, a reality for an increasing number of North Americans, also tends to have a negative impact on vitamin D levels. And disease states like diabetes, Chron’s and celiac can inhibit the body’s ability to metabolize vitamin D from food sources.
To help make sure that you get the vitamin D needed to promote better health, take heed of these suggestions.
Go fish: A big reason why we have so much trouble in achieving healthy vitamin D levels is that few foods contain useful amounts. Some UV-exposed mushrooms are a source as are certain fortified foods like cereals, milk, non-dairy milk beverages and orange juice. But sometimes what is added to foods is less absorbable vitamin D2 and since vitamin D is fat-soluble you won’t likely get the full impact when you gulp it down in fat-free orange juice or skim milk.
To infuse your diet with vitamin D, it’s a good idea to cast your line for fatty fish more often. Swimmers like sardines, mackerel, herring and salmon are among the best dietary sources of this must-have nutrient. For instance, 3 ounces of canned sardines can provide 70% of the daily vitamin D quota. The same serving size of canned sockeye salmon gives you about the amount of vitamin D – 600 I.U. – that the Institute of Medicine suggests we should aim for each day. Even better, the natural fats present in these seafood species will work to bolster vitamin D absorption in the body. With that said, few Americans are eating enough vitamin D rich fish as they continue to favor other proteins like chicken and beef.
Consider a supplement: For many people, daily supplementation is one of the most reliable ways to achieve optimal vitamin D levels. Since a majority of multi-vitamins contain no more than 600 IU, a dedicated vitamin D supplement might be needed to prevent or overcome a deficiency. It’s best to consult with your physician about the need for a vitamin D supplement and appropriate dosage. He or she may order a blood vitamin D test to better assess your status.
If you do pop a vitamin D pill, check the form you’re getting. Researchers in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is about twice as effective at raising blood levels than is vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol). A separate study showed that after supplementation is halted, there is a less rapid decline in vitamin D levels when D3 is taken than when D2 is the supplement of choice. And because vitamin D is fat-soluble, you’ll want to take a supplement with a meal containing some fat for better absorption.
Don’t go overboard: Researchers at the University of Minnesota found that the prevalence of daily supplemental vitamin D usage in excess of 4,000 I.U., the amount that the Institute of Medicine says should be our upper daily upper limit, has been rising in recent years. As a fat-soluble nutrient, if you take too much vitamin D for too long it can accumulate in our bodies which could raise the risk for health concerns such as the calcification of blood vessels that may lead to heart, liver and other organ damage. For most people, daily supplementation of 1,000 to 2,000 IU should suffice, but discuss this with your physician.
Ever feel bored of your go-to recipes or meals? Are you looking for something all natural, quick and easy, vibrant, fresh and all things dreamy? Well, look no further! We’ve invited Emma Swanston from Better With Cake to bring you a nutritious, sweet and spicy tuna, tahini and lime salad lettuce cup recipe to spruce up your lunch or dinner game! An added bonus – it’s low carb, gluten free, keto and paleo-friendly made with sustainable & ethically sourced tuna!
It’s National Recycling Week! To celebrate, we’ve invoked the help of Diane from Big Green Purse to share a few ways we can recycle our food and in turn help the planet (and our pocket books too). Check it out!